The Five Centimes coin is currently the smallest circulating denomination of the Swiss Franc, after the One Centime and Two Centimes denominations were demonetised in 2007 and 1978 respectively. Given that Switzerland has four official languages, the sub-unit of the Franc has four different names; it is centime (c.) in French, Rappen (Rp.) in German, centesimo (ct.) in Italian and rap (rp.) in Romansh. Some English-language catalogues call the coin a "5 Rappen" coin, but the English-language publications of the Swiss National Bank and Swissmint prefer the word "5 centimes".
Coins of the 5 centime (Rappen) denomination went through several transformations in their history. The first version of the coin was designed by Carl Friedrich Voigt and featured the Swiss Coat of Arms on the obverse. It was made of billon (low-grade silver alloy) and was demonetised in 1886.
In 1879, a second version of the denomination was released. The obverse was changed to a design by Karl Schwenzer featuring the effigy of Libertas; the metal was changed to copper-nickel and the coin became slightly heavier. The reverse retained the original design; it shows the value (only a numeral, no text) within a wreath of grape leaves and grapes. This original reverse has remained unchanged and is still used on current coins.
The second version was issued for over 100 years until 1980, with the exception of 1918 when it was struck in brass, and the period between 1932 - 1939 and 1941 when it was struck in nickel).
In 1918 only (this third version), the alloy used was brass with composition of 60% copper and 40% zinc. This one-year type circulated for less than six years and was demonetised on 1st January 1924.